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a different perspective on human capital

Negotiating Wars


You have a job offer in your hands. Congrats! Now comes the hard part. For many, the idea of negotiating to get what they want seems like an impossible task. However, you can negotiate a job offer and you should! You don’t want to miss out on a higher salary or better benefits because you were too intimidated to ask.

According to The New Yorker, Linda Babcock, of Carnegie Mellon University, did a survey of graduating professional students and found that only seven percent of women attempted to negotiate their initial offers, while fifty-seven percent of the men did so. In this modern age where women are taking on more power in the workplace, this has to change! Negotiating can be easy if you are asking for something reasonable and fair. Check out our tips on how to be a master negotiator:

Justify Your Requests: A company isn’t just going to raise your salary because you say you are worth it…you need to prove it. Always tell the story that goes along with it and prove that it is a justified request. (For example you deserve a 15% increase in your pay because you have more experience than they initially were looking for). If you can’t back it up, then you probably shouldn’t be asking!

Reinforce Your Interest: At this stage in the process, it is very important to show that you appreciate the offer and actually want to work with the company. If it looks like you’re negotiating to get better offers elsewhere or playing different companies against each other, a company is more likely to give up on you since they think they won’t get you in the end anyway. Be genuine about the fact that you really want this particular role.

– Seek Ways to “Increase the Size of the Pie” – Write something here about looking for win/wins – instead of a negotiation always being give and take, find things you can give that are “easy” but provide a high value to the company – e.g. starting a few weeks earlier or leveraging an existing relationship to help them fill another open position they have or something (I don’t know, think of ideas!)  I’m happy to re-read if you’d like!

Don’t Request the Impossible: Even if a company loves you, that doesn’t mean they can give you everything. Try to learn in the beginning where they might have flexibility. If they have a salary cap they can’t budge on, then don’t ask for a higher salary. Maybe ask to work from home certain days or for more vacation time instead.

Consider the Whole Offer: In this day and age, companies are offering much more than just money. Companies offer perks that are on a whole new level than a few years ago – gym memberships, free food, unlimited vacation, flexible hours, etc… For some people, this can make up for a lower base salary. Don’t just look at the salary when you’re negotiating! See if the company is offering anything else of value to you in the offer first.  Assign real value to those perks and fully consider them as part of the overall “package.”

Never Give an Ultimatum: At this point you haven’t proven anything to the company yet…they are hiring you on the belief that you will do well, but with relatively few data points.  Therefore, an ultimatum at this point will not work. You need to be open to what they will offer so give them a chance to come back with something better before demanding anything.

Ask What You Can Do for Them! Remember, negotiating is a “give and take proposition.” If you want something, then you should ask what you can do for them in return. This can go a long way toward a successful negotiation.

Here at the Treehouse, we negotiate for our candidates and clients daily! We know it is a precarious process and we always think full-disclosure is best on both sides. Honesty can go a long way toward everything working out for both parties in the end. Have you ever had to negotiate for a job? We would love to hear what techniques you used to successfully close the deal!